The Advisory Board is comprised of qualified entrepreneurs, publishers, writers and philanthropists.
Six gifted and internationally regarded poets will serve as the editorial board for the series.


The African Poetry Book Fund promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts through its book series, contests, workshops, and seminars and through its collaborations with publishers, festivals, booking agents, colleges, universities, conferences and all other entities that share an interest in the poetic arts of Africa.  The Fund is committed to seeking the resources to support this mission and to ensure that all its efforts are carried out with excellence.

Established through the generosity of Laura and Robert F.X. Sillerman, the APBF promotes the writing and publication of African poetry through an international complex of additional collaborations and partnerships.

Editorial Board

Kwame Dawes

Founding editor of the APBF, Dawes joined the UNL faculty as a Chancellor’s Professor in 2011 and took the helm of the Prairie Schooner, UNL’s quarterly literary magazine that for the past 90 years has published the fiction, poetry, essays and reviews of talented writers of all levels. He is the author of 16 poetry collections, three works of fiction, and several anthologies, produced plays, and books of literary criticism and aesthetics, not counting forthcoming works. His long list of accomplishments includes a Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2009 Emmy Award for a multimedia documentary project on HIV/AIDS in Jamaica.

Chris Abani

Chris Abani’s prose includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin, 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). He holds a BA in English (Nigeria), an MA in Gender and Culture (Birkbeck College, University of London), an MA in English and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (University of Southern California). He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award. Born in Nigeria, he is currently Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University, in Chicago, where he lives.

Gabeba Baderoon

Gabeba Baderoon, a South African poet, is the author of three collections of poetry – The Dream in the Next Body (Kwela/Snailpress, 2005), The Museum of Ordinary Life (DaimlerChrysler, 2005) and A Hundred Silences (Kwela/Snailpress, 2006). Gabeba is the recipient of the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Poetry 2005. In 2008 she was awarded a Writers Residency at the University of the Witwatersrand, funded by Trust Africa. Her debut collection, The Dream in the Next Body (Kwela/Snailpress 2005), was named a Notable Book of 2005 by the Sunday Independent.

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Phillippa Yaa de Villiersis an award-winning South African writer and performance artist. Her poetry collections include Taller Than Buildings and The Everyday Wife. She has toured widely her autobiographical one-woman show, Original Skin. Her many awards include the National Arts Festival/de Buren Writing Beyond the Fringe Prize (2009) and a South African Literary Award (2011). She was also the recipient of the 2012 Overseas Scholarship for studies in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She was selected in 2014 as Commonwealth poet and commissioned to write and perform a poem in celebration of Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family as well as politicians and dignitaries.

Bernardine Evaristo

British author Bernardine Evaristo is a novelist, poet, editor, essayist, literary critic and Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Her creative writing includes eight books of fiction and verse fiction, several theatre plays, BBC radio dramas and other works. She reviews for the national British newspapers and has chaired and judged many prizes. She has edited and guest-edited several anthologies and literary magazines. In 2012 she founded the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, open to African poets worldwide. She has won several awards and she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006, and she received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009.

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay is the author of three poetry collections, Teeth, Kingdom Animalia, winner of the Isabella Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, and The Black Maria, named a “Top Poetry Pick” by Publisher’s Weekly, O Magazine, and Library Journal. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Foundation Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem Fellow and an Acentos board member, she has led youth and community writing workshops. She currently teaches at Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.

John Keene

John Keene (MFA New York University) is the author of the award-winning novel Annotations (New Directions, 1995), and of the poetry collection Seismosis (1913 Press, 2006), with artwork by Christopher Stackhouse. He has published his fiction, poetry, essays and translations in a wide array of journals, including African-American Review, AGNI, Encyclopedia, Gay and Lesbian Review, Hambone, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Public Space. His honors include an array of fellowships, including a 2005 Whiting Foundation Award in Fiction and Poetry and a 2008 Fellowship for Distinguished First Collection from the inaugural Pan-African Literary Forum.

Matthew Shenoda

Matthew Shenoda is a writer and professor whose poems and essays have appeared in a variety of newspapers, journals, radio programs and anthologies. He has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his work has been supported by the California Arts Council and the Lannan Foundation among others. His debut collection of poems, Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press), was named one of 2005’s debut books of the year by Poets & Writers Magazine and was winner of a 2006 American Book Award. He is also the author of Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone (BOA Editions Ltd.), editor of Duppy Conqueror: New & Selected Poems by Kwame Dawes, and most recently author of Tahrir Suite: Poems (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press), winner of the 2015 Arab American Book Award and with Kwame Dawes, editor of Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 2017).

Shenoda teaches in the fields of ethnic studies and creative writing and has held several faculty and administrative positions at various institutions and was recently appointed as the Dean of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Special Advisor to the President at Columbia College Chicago where he is currently Professor of English and Creative Writing. Additionally, Shenoda has served on the Board of Directors of several arts and education organizations and is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.



Advisory Board

Laura Sillerman

Laura Baudo Sillerman is president of The Tomorrow Foundation, a New York City-based charitable foundation, and the co-founder of The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University. She serves as an advisory board member at Stony Brook University’s Southampton Campus, The Southampton Writers Conference, and The Southampton Review. A founding board member of Women’s Voices for Change and their poetry editor, she has served as a board and committee member at Marietta College and the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y.

Glenna Luschei

Poet, publisher, editor, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Glenna Luschei has published the poetry magazines Café Solo, Solo, and Solo Café for fifty years. She has endowed in perpetuity the literary quarterly Prairie Schooner, one of the oldest magazines in continuous publication, and its editor. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a D.H. Lawrence Fellowship in New Mexico. For four years, she served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Luschei is the author of numerous chapbooks, special editions and books. Her most recent, is Leaving It All Behind, Presa Press, 2011.

Sulaiman Adebowale

Sulaiman Adebowale is the director of Amalion Publishing, an independent publishing initiative based in Dakar, Senegal, whose principal mission is to disseminate the scientific and cultural knowledge of Africa for the broader understanding of humanity. He has worked as a print journalist and is Managing Editor at CODESRIA in Senegal. He studied English at the University of Lagos and publishing and electronic media at Oxford Brookes University.

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander’s collections of poetry include American Sublime (Graywolf Press, 2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007, Alexander won the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She was the first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, and a member of the founding editorial collective for the feminist journal Meridians. She has served as a faculty member for Cave Canem Poetry Workshops, and has traveled internationally, giving poetry readings and lecturing on African American literature and culture. She was selected to read at Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration in 2009.